The drive from New Orleans to Shiloh,
Tennessee takes about 10 hours
of steady driving. S---, my wife, and I decided to take this drive on
clear day in early October 1998, just as Autumn's first cool spell
into New Orleans... pushing aside late summer's lingering humidity
and steamy temperatures. We had not taken a "real" vacation for over
five years, and this was
to be one to remember. The drive was invigorating...our route taking
us up the
Natchez Trace Parkway from just north of Jackson, Mississippi and
stopping in Tupelo for the evening. We planned to visit the
battlefield the next
morning. The drive on the Trace was a prelude of what was to come...a
of traveling through time...moving ever backwards...to a point in
history where my late Great-great grand- father, Placide Richard, a
private in Co. K, of the 18th Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, along
(500) other young men were brought together by destiny. Along with
of other young men from all parts of this country, they were to meet
fields and forests of southwestern Tennessee. Their coming together
climaxed during two bloody days in April 1862, at what history now
as the Battle of Shiloh.
The battlefield at Shiloh is just
across the border, some 22 miles from
Corinth, Mississippi in southwestern Tennessee and is situated on a
flat plateau of land that gently rises to end in steep bluffs at
along the Tennessee River. On this crisp Friday morning, driving into
battlefield park was marked with a sense of excited expectation.
immense power, and presence seemed to overwhelm this researcher as we
the battlefield. These emotions were mixed with a sense of awe...of
on these blooded grounds.
After first touring the museum, we took
the short drive to Pittburg Landing
and looked out over the flowing waters of the Tennessee River,
laden barge traffic pass before us destined for points south. The
almost envision the federal ironclads and troop transports moving
the river to disembark their cargo of untried troops unto the landing
A gentle fall breeze blew in from the
northwest carrying sounds of others
visiting the National Cemetery overlooking the river. The cemetery is
on the bluffs, adjacent to the landing. These muffled sounds were
mixed with the
gentle rustle of thousands of leaves in early stages of seasonal
throughout the park.
While shopping, on the evening prior to
our visit to Shiloh, a friendly
sales lady told us of her regular visits to the battlefield. She
talked of the following...saying at times, while (she was) sitting on
the bluffs, she could hear
the subdued sounds of troops...talking, moving, and marching to the
orders. When she would ask her companions about this, all would claim
heard nothing. Climbing the bluffs behind the cemetery, S--- and I
paused for a
while and through a large gap in the trees, looked out over the
River while harboring faint hopes of experiencing similar sounds.
did not experience anything, a sense of unrest did prevail. The quiet
was almost unnerving, broken only by the rustle of leaves in the
gentle fall breeze.
A couple of days later, after returning
to New Orleans, S--- and I
were reminiscing about our experiences at Shiloh. I mentioned about
what I had
heard while viewing the river at Pittsburg Landing. I asked her about
sounds, and the rustle of wind in the trees, coming from behind us in
of the cemetery. She informed me that she had heard no voices, for at
there were only two people and one worker in the cemetery and they
talking. I thought she was joking, but she became serious, indicating
once, it was not her hearing voices! S---, had on more than one
reminded of her ability to communicate with her ancestors! Were the
researcher heard those of other park visitors (as was believed...),
or were the
voices, speaking in muted, hushed tones other than park visitors?
they were other park visitors?
After a time of silent thought in the
cemetery, we then proceeded to
tour the battlefield... making stops along the way at such well known
as the "Hornet's Nest", the "Sunken Road" and the "Peach Orchard". We
visited the site of the Confederate batteries were history tells us,
grouped some 60 cannon firing at the rate of one every 15 seconds, in
determined attempt to dislodge the Federal troops who were making a
in the "Sunken Road". Other sites such as the "burial trenches"
the Confederate dead were especially moving and troubling to S--- and
I. It was
almost impossible to hold back tears while visiting these sites. One
site especially troubling and was out of the way, and included two
burial trenches spaced some three tenths of a mile apart... each
simple markers. One site, has the traveler walking into a secluded
crossing a clear, slow moving stream (Rea Springs) which then leads
up a gentle
rise to a serene clearing. Shiloh battlefield lists some five
trenches. At the insistence of General Grant, the Confederate dead,
some 1728) were interred shortly after the battle. A request was
by Confederate General, P. G. T. Beauregard, to allow relatives of
to be permitted to come to Shiloh. The purpose was to retrieve their
ones for a proper burial. Fearing widespread disease, General Grant
declined this request on the grounds that the Confederate dead had
At this point, this researcher could
dwell on the battle itself, the figures
relating numbers and dispositions of troops along with the causality
that is not the intent of this paper. Many well written efforts
attest to details of
this great battle. This writers' intent is to inform the reader about
the men of
a particular unit, namely, the 18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
During this researcher's tour of the Battlefield at
Shiloh, a special effort was
taken to view the sites where his Great-great grandfather's regiment
fought and in some instances died. The 18th Louisiana was but a part
Brigade which held the left flank during this battle. Ponds' Brigade
Corps, 1st Division, 3rd Brigade), was comprised of the 16th
18th Louisiana Infantry, the Crescent [Louisiana] Regiment, Orleans
[Louisiana Battalion], 38th Tennessee Infantry, Ketchum's Alabama
and the Alabama Cavalry Battalion of Capt. Thomas F. Jenkins. Most of
significant sites at Shiloh are clearly identified by markers and in
a many cases
also bear monuments to the participants...both North and South. There
some six markers that make reference to the 18th Louisiana. Walking
hallowed grounds was a immensely trying experience for this
researcher. In essence,
one could almost feel the apprehension, tension and raw fear these
must have felt. Most were yet to be tested in battle. Yet, these
marched on and fought with valor and tenacity...many falling, some by
own batteries, whom mistook them for "fleeing Yankees". (Note: Some
of the 18th Louisiana were uniformed in blue!) After the first day of
number of fallen (in the 18th Regiment) numbered some 200+ . The
Louisiana fielded 500 men for the battle. Colonel Preston Pond, Jr.'s
Brigade) battlefield report lists the following causalities incurred
by the 18th
Louisiana at Shiloh: Killed...13, Seriously Wounded...80,
a Total of ...211. Though some of the accounts vary, this is as close
accounting of causalities as possible and includes almost half of the
the 18th fielded! What a loss! Even though accounts of the battle
the 18th saw "limited action" on the second day of battle, April 7,
lists of killed, wounded, died from wounds, etc. and then reviewing
of the battle in Grisamore's book, Reminiscences of Uncle Silas ,
there are a
number of entries that indicate that the 18th was engaged and this
is not so certain as to this engagement being "limited or not".
A special note of thanks is extended to
Brian Keith McCutchen, Park
Ranger, Shiloh National Military Park, who provided invaluable
to this researcher's many questions concerning the Battlefield at
Shiloh. He in turn
supplied the following information depicted on the markers that are
listed below. Arranged in sequence, is the information portrayed on
these markers as
referenced to the men of the 18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry
Tablet "Q" C. S.
(The text for "Tablet Q", located on the eastern end of the
National Cemetery, overlooking the Tennessee River,
reads as follows.)
FIRST ENGAGEMENT ON SHILOH BATTLEFIELD
On the 1st day of March, 1862, GIBSON'S (La.) BATTERY, supported by
18th LOUISIANA INFANTRY, and a
detachment of Cavalry, occupied a position
on this bluff. About 10 A.M.
the battery opened fire upon the U.S. Gunboats,
TYLER and LEXINGTON, which
were ascending the river. The fire was returned
by the gunboats, and after a
short engagement, in which a house standing near here
was burned, the battery and
its support was driven away. Companies "C" and "K",
32d Illinois Infantry, landed
from the Gunboats; took possession of two 32 pdr.
guns at this place and
advanced to the log house which stood where the Cemetery
lodge now stands, and where
they were attacked by the 18th Louisiana and driven
from the field. The Union loss
was 2 men killed; 6 wounded, 3 missing. The
Confederates lost several
killed; 17 Confederate soldiers were buried here. The
Gunboats proceeded up the
river to Florence, and on their return, March 4th,
again landed at Pittsburg and
sent a party out on the Corinth road, three miles
to a Confederate hospital
having wounded men in it. Confederate pickets were
encountered near the hospital
and the party returned to the boats.
(Note: According to the writings of Silas T. Grisamore, in his book
of Uncle Silas , he notes that
the 18th Louisiana departed Corinth on February 26,
1862 for the 20 or so mile
journey to Pittsburg Landing with Co. K (this reacher's
company, left in camp to guard the bivouac area.[_R])
(Bivouac tablet at the left of Bragg's line, near Winningham
364. C. S.
Pond's (3rd) Brigade
38th Tenn., Crescent (La), 18th La., Orleans Guard, 16th La.,
Ketchum's Ala. Battery,
Ruggle's (3rd) Div., Bragg's Corps,
ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI
This brigade, with its regiments in order from left to
right as above, and battery in the rear, bivouacked at this place
April 5, 1862. The two left
regiments were detached to Owl creek road Sunday
morning. The other regiments
went forward to McDowell's camp.
(Set on N. side of road about 150 yards west of Livingston's
365. C. S.
18th La., Orleans Gd., 16th La.,
Pond's (3d) Brig., Ruggles' (1st) Div., Bragg's Corps,
ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI.
Skirmishers from these regiments were engaged here about 10 a.m.
April 6, 1862. The Union force was withdrawn and these regiments
took possession of McDowell's camps.
(Line 108. Sta. 112 + 7, 41 ft. east.)
366. C. S.
18th La., Orleans Gd., 16th La.,
4 Guns of Ketchum's Ala. Battery.
Pond's (3d) Brig., Ruggles (1st) Div., Bragg's Corps,
ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI
These regiments and battery were slightly engaged here from noon to 2
April 6, 1862. Pond's brigade
was again engaged here on Monday, April 7, 1862.
(Line 64, Sta. 117 + 93 ft. west)
367. C. S.
18th La., Orleans Gd., 16th La.,
Pond's (3d) Brig., Ruggles (1st) Div., Bragg's Corps,
ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI
These regiments formed on echelon, left in front, charged the Union
their front at 4.30 p.m. April
6, 1862 and were repulsed with heavy loss.
They retired to camp of 8th Illinois.
(Line 88, Sta. 133 + 91.75 ft. east. On north side of
the road, a little east of Oglesby's Hdqrs.)
375. C. S.
38th Tenn., 18th La., Orleans Guard, 16th La.,
Pond's (3d) Brigade, Ruggles' (1st) Division,
These regiments retired to this place about 5 p.m. April 6, 1862 and
here Sunday night. "The right
at Oglesby's headquarters, the left towards Owl
Creek". They occupied this
position until 9 a.m. April 7th.
In looking at the cold, curt
military records of the men of the 18th Louisiana,
one can begin to see that they did indeed suffer hardships. Many
joined for "a
year" while others were obliged to join for the "duration of the war"
others were mustered in as "conscripts". A great many of these men
boys who had never ventured more than a few miles from their homes.
called upon to do their duty, they obliged and did as they were
asked. Once in
uniform (many did not have the luxury of a uniform), they were at the
of their commanders and had no choice as to what they did. Many of
men, having tired of the hardships of war, must have had second
and returned home when their enlistments were up.
Even during marches, (as in the pursuit by Federal troops in later
in Western Louisiana) some of the men could see their homes nearby,
down the road from where they bivouacked and were not allowed to
families out of fear of their not returning. The feelings of longing
to see their
loved ones must have been excruciating. These men were mostly farmers
farms required attending and crops needed to be planted and
urge to return home had to be overwhelming. Many did go home. Even
incident at Camp Moore (in Tangipahoa Parish) speaks of an entire
enlisted for a "year" and having dutifully reported to Camp Moore,
they were told
that their enlistment was now extended for the "duration of the war".
company went home. Such were the military records statements listing
men as "deserters". This researcher's Great- great grandfather is
listed as such, deserting
from Camp Qui Vive on Christmas Eve/Christmas, 1862...about two days
march from his farm in present southern Evangeline Parish. Many men
been cut off from their units were also listed as "deserters". Many
of these men,
possibly even thisresearcher's Great-great grandfather, did later
units (or other units). The records of these units were in many cases
or destroyed and proof of such returns can only be speculated.
It is next to impossible for anyone to
write about a place, time or an
event without at the very least, making the effort to visit such a
place. Time, unfortunately prevents us from viewing these historical
events in real time, for
try as we may, we cannot venture back in time. We can only make
at guessing as to the conditions, hardships and experiences of men
such as our
ancestors who lived and endured our past. Though this researcher and
his wife made
a "hard drive of 10 hours" up to the Battlefield of Shiloh, during
that early fall
weekend in October, one can only imagine just how tough it must have
the men of the 18th Louisiana. They had no smooth manicured roads,
with cozy rest stops at every highway intersection. Nor did they have
of air conditioned restaurants and inns conveniently located near
the interstate. These men marched and toiled through the mud, swamps,
pathways, and forests, while, for their daily sustenance, if they
had wild game or livestock "liberated" from farms. If they were
hardtack...if really unlucky...they had nothing. They slept in
under the stars or out in the open in the heat, cold or rain.
Progress has provided us with a
multitude of luxuries that we take for
granted (and often gripe when those luxuries temporarily fail us).
The men of
the 18th Louisiana (along with everyone who participated in the great
of the American Civil War) had none of these things. But they went on
what they believed was the right thing to do. This researcher can
only hope that this
material will provide a small measure of assistance to researchers
such as himself,
who look to the past for answers about the present. Even if but one
some assistance from these pages; then the task of this researcher
will not have
It is with these thoughts in mind that
the material portrayed on the
following pages be lovingly dedicated to those gallant cavaliers of
Louisiana Regiment, along with my late Great great-grandfather, Pvt.
Richard of Co. K.
SHALL WE BEGIN?
21 October 1998
A VERY SPECIAL
About a year ago, when this project was begun, this
a very nice lady from Jackson Barracks Military Library in New
assistance in compiling the vast material needed to complete this
She selflessly gave of her time and materials to provide extensive
and clear copies
of the existing Muster Roll pages from the history of the 18th
She painstakingly made sure that all copies of the materials were as
easy to read as possible. She knew that it would take months to check
each entry against the records of Booth. One of the great attributes
document copies was that this researcher could then take and verify
the compiled records of Booth and then after painstaking work, a
accurate picture of the men of the 18th Regiment would begin to
changes and alterations will show up throughout the Roster that is to
This project could not have been
completed without including additional information that ties the 18th
Regiment into the Yellow Jacket Battalion
(10th Battalion), along with the Crescent Regiment, and with the end
being the 18th Consolidated Infantry Regiment and Yellow Jacket
So, it is with this thought in mind
that this "Special Recognition"
goes out to a very nice lady...Ms. Sherrie S. Pugh, Archivist, Jackson
Library, without whose
wonderful assistance this
project could NOT have been possible.
Let us begin our journey into
the History of the
18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry...
© 1997, 1998, 1999 Richard
Enterprises, Inc., All rights reserved.
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